Toyota has teamed up with Peter Wright, star of The Yorkshire Vet TV series, to provide advice on safety when travelling with a dog in the car, and simple animal first aid tips – from cuts and wounds to bee stings.
Peter Wright has almost 40 years’ experience, covering the Yorkshire moors and dales from his practice at the Grace Lane surgery in Kirkbymoorside. He uses his own Toyota RAV4 Plug-in hybrid electric SUV to visit his patients both large and small. The car is also the perfect choice for pet owners who prioritise the comfort and well-being of both two and four legged passengers, as it was recently voted the Best Car for Dog Owners in the 2023 Auto Trader New Car Awards. It has all the space needed to carry family members and dogs, and owners can tailor their car to suit their pet with a range of Toyota accessories, including boot liners and dog guards.
Toyota’s top tips for transporting dogs by car:
Secure your dog in the car: The Highway Code states that dogs must be ‘suitably restrained’ in the car to prevent them from distracting the driver, or causing harm to themselves, or other passengers.
In the unfortunate event of a crash, an unrestrained dog can be thrown forward with significant force, leading to severe injuries to the dog and potentially causing harm to the driver or passengers, depending on the dog’s size.
Choose the right restraint: To keep your dog safe in the car, consider using a dog safety harness clipped to a rear seat belt plug, a travelling crate in the boot, or a dog grill that separates the luggage area from the rear seats.
Peter Wright’s tips on simple first aid for dogs:
Once the car journey is over and the walk begins, there are a whole host of potential minor injuries and health issues that a dog can experience. Peter therefore advises: “It’s really useful to keep a simple first aid kit for the dog, in the back of the car, containing the following items, which are relatively inexpensive and readily available from your vet or a local or online pet store:
- A pair of 5” blunt ended curved scissors – to safely trim matted hair around a wound or to cut dressings as needed.
- Tweezers or forceps: These are essential for removing thorns, small glass pieces, or other foreign materials from your dog’s paws or skin, including stings.
- Dog nail clippers: if your dog partially breaks a nail while out walking, nail clippers can be very useful to prevent further discomfort.
- Non-allergic disposable gloves: invaluable if your dog encounters something toxic or unpleasant. They allow you to clean your dog without direct contact with harmful substances. It’s also useful to carry water in the back of the car (around 5 litres) for washing off any contaminants. This is useful to remove fox poo too.
- Bandages: cuts and wounds on the dogs pads or limbs are common issues encountered when going for a walk, so 5cm vetwrap and conforming, sticky tape eg micropore and a small roll of cotton wool, are really useful to keep in the car. To address bleeding from a wound, a conforming bandage, vet wrap, and gauze dressing can be used to apply pressure and protect the wound until you can reach a vet.
- Cotton wool: keep cotton wool in your first aid kit for additional layers in the dressing or for cleaning wounds with diluted antiseptic using Chlorhexidine and sterile water.
- Antihistamine tablets, eg Piriton 10mg: if your dog is stung by a wasp or bee, having antihistamine tablets, like a 10 mg Piriton tablet, is helpful and safe for any size of dog.
- Well-fitting muzzle: this can be extremely helpful in emergency situations, especially after a car accident when your dog might be distressed, frightened, or in pain. It can be used to protect both your dog and those helping.
Peter concludes: “While you can deal with minor health incidents yourself, you should always have your veterinarian’s contact details readily available. In emergencies, when stress levels are high, quick access to your vet’s information, or the details of an emergency local vet can make a significant difference.”